The City of Irving is committed to keeping students and drivers safe on the roads and through school zones.
Beginning in 2017, the Irving Traffic and Transportation Department’s Traffic Signal Division started a major program to replace and upgrade dated traffic signal equipment throughout the city. A major project within this technology upgrade is the installation of battery backup units for both traffic signals and school zone indicators. These changes are part of the larger project of creating an Advanced Traffic Management System, which will include a new communication network to improve traffic safety and synchronize traffic flow. The system also will allow for the integration of emerging technology, system monitoring and flexibility for future upgrades and expansion.
When a traffic signal loses power, drivers can become confused about the rules of the road. They may not know how to respond to other motorists, particularly at large intersections. In an effort to address such safety issues, the Traffic and Transportation Department is installing battery backups at each of the city’s traffic signals.
Nearly 25 percent of the traffic signal battery backup system has been installed throughout the city. Once the installation project is complete, the system will support 212 traffic signals in Irving and will be a proactive safety measure during storms or power outages.
The new system when fully implemented will allow the traffic signal to continue to operate without affecting or delaying drivers. Additionally, the system will continue to power the traffic signal without requiring staff to deploy generators during a power outage. This will support driver safety and city staff response time.
The battery backup system is designed to run for eight hours before transitioning to flash mode for six to eight more hours.
Traffic signal outages are rare, but when they do occur, this system will ensure smooth traffic flow, reduce the demand on emergency services for intersection control, and allow fire and police personnel to respond to calls in a timely fashion.
Irving, Carrollton-Farmers Branch and Coppell school districts are located within Irving’s city limits. Schools within those districts have various operating hours. During the summer break this year, the Traffic Signal Division modified 114 school zone indicators with a wireless school zone communication system. The new system allows each of the indicators to be programmed remotely, rather than having to manually adjust each school zone indicator on-site.
In the past, at some locations, crossing guards activated and terminated the indicator lights with a key. If a guard was absent, city staff had to be dispatched to turn the indicators on and off. Additionally, throughout the year, city staff visited each indicator to manually program the school’s calendar.
With the new system in place, city staff can wirelessly connect and program all of the school zone indicators remotely from a computer at the future Traffic Operations Center.
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